The relationship between school organizational characteristics and reliance on out-of-field teachers in mathematics and science: Cross-national evidence from TALIS 2008


This article investigates the effect of schools’ organizational features on teacher staffing decisions at the secondary level cross-nationally. I examine the importance of the principal’s administrative leadership style and school-level autonomy in making staffing decisions to understand variation in assignments of out-of-field teachers (OFT) to teach mathematics and science. I conduct secondary analysis based on a new international data set compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on lower-secondary school administration and teachers in 15 countries. I utilize a country fixedeffects model to study the effect of different types of organizational characteristics on the extent of reliance on out-of-field teaching in mathematics and science crossnationally. The results indicate that the use of OFT is a school-specific issue. Several school characteristics affect levels of out-of-field teaching. After controlling for country fixed effects, I do not find a systematic relationship between the principal’s administrative leadership and the school’s reliance on OFT. However, higher school-level autonomy in making staffing decisions is significantly associated with lower reliance on out-of-field teaching.

The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 23(3)
Yisu Zhou
Associate Professor of Education Policy

My research focus on sociology of education